Massage & Bodywork

September/October 2012

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BEWARE "GREENWASHING" Greenwashing is a term that means "expression of environmentalist concerns, especially as a cover for products, policies, or activities deleterious to the environment."1 The word has become relevant recently, as companies jump on the green bandwagon, regardless their policies or behaviors, in order to entice consumers toward their products. Futerra, a British sustainability communications company, offers the following signs you're being "green sheened":2 • Fluffy language: words or terms with no clear meaning (e.g., "eco-friendly"). • Green product vs. dirty company: such as efficient lightbulbs made in a factory that pollutes rivers. • Suggestive pictures: green images that indicate a (unjustified) green impact (e.g., flowers blooming from exhaust pipes). • Irrelevant claims: emphasizing one tiny green attribute when everything else is not green. • Best in class: declaring you are slightly greener than the rest, even if the rest are pretty terrible. • Just not credible: "eco-friendly" cigarettes, anyone? "Greening" a dangerous product doesn't make it safe. • Jargon: information that only a scientist could check or understand. • Imaginary friends: a "label" that looks like third- party endorsement—except that it's made up. • No proof: it could be right, but where's the evidence? Notes 1. Merriam-Webster Unabridged, accessed July 2012, http://unabridged.merriam- webster.com/cgi-bin/unabridged?va=greenwashing&x=0&y=0. 2. Futerra, accessed July 2012, www.futerra.co.uk/downloads/Greenwash_Guide.pdf. Visit the newly designed ABMP.com. Log in. Explore. Enjoy. 23

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